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Petrit Halilaj

Bertha Gonzalez Nieves Shares Her New York Top 5: MoMA, The Met, and More

This month, we caught up with the visionary Co-Founder and CEO of Casa Dragones to talk about meaningful creative collaboration and the best gallery shows on view in the city.

Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, Co-Founder and CEO of small batch tequila brand Casa Dragones, is a trailblazing Mexican businesswoman and Master Tequilera, known with great reverence as the “First Lady of Tequila.” Strong values of sustainability, hand craftsmanship, and luxury are placed at the center of her forward-thinking vision for the next era of the industry—and meaningful partnerships with international creatives abound at Casa Dragones. On the vibrant occasion of New York Art Month, Gonzalez Nieves shared with Whitewall her singular company’s new artist collaboration with the esteemed Petrit Halilaj, as well as her favorite gallery shows in town, and the chicest spot for a Tequila Martini.

Bertha Gonzalez, Co-Founder and CEO of Casa Dragones Courtesy of Bertha Gonzalez.

WHITEWALL: What are you looking forward to in New York in May?

BERTHA GONZALEZ NIEVES: May is such an exciting month in New York, there are so many galleries and exhibits to see, it’s hard to see and do everything, especially since we partner with several galleries and artists. After the art fair, towards the middle of May, there are a slew of design fairs that are always interesting. 

At Casa Dragones, we’re committed to Mexican craftsmanship, as well as contemporary art and design. We caught up with our friends at a few galleries and loved the works at White Cube’s booth of Theaster Gates, and Ilana Savdie (who was one of our Art-Tenders in Art Basel 2023). Also saw Gabriel Orozco’s stunning new work at kurimanzutto.

“At Casa Dragones, we’re committed to Mexican craftsmanship, as well as contemporary art and design,” — Bertha Gonzalez Nieves

The Casa Dragones Joven Artist Edition by Petrit Halilaj The Casa Dragones Joven Artist Edition by Petrit Halilaj, courtesy of the artist and Casa Dragones.

WW: What are the exhibitions on your must-see list?

BGN: May is a great time to see both art and design. Petrit Halilaj’s commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden is definitely a must-see. We recently collaborated with him on a Casa Dragones Joven Artist Edition bottle, where he reimagined our logo with one of his “bourgeois hens.” Also, Crafting Modernity at MoMA, which was curated by Ana Elena Mallet. It’s a beautiful show that explores Latin American domestic design. We worked with Ana Elena last year when she curated our historic house, La Casa Dragones, in San Miguel de Allende as a showcase of award-winning Mexican design.

Best New York Bites and Cocktails

WW: Where are your go-to places to grab a bite or drink in the city?

BGN: My go-to for dinner is Cosme: can’t beat the high-end Mexican fare and low-key atmosphere.  Zero Bond is my late night go-to, they also serve delicious sushi. If I’m downtown, I head to Dante West Village for their super chic Tequila Martini.

WW: Anything else you’re looking forward to this month in New York? 

BGN: Had the opportunity to check out Future Dialogues: a talk with Marta Minujín & Darsie Alexander at kurimanzutto, the Ann Rothenstein exhibit at Stephen Friedman gallery, and Marilyn Minter at Lehmann Maupin.

New York May Highlights, According to Bertha Gonzalez Nieves:

1. Discover The Met’s Roof Garden Commission: Petrit Halilaj, Abetare

Petrit Halilaj Petrit Halilaj, “Abetare (detail),” 2024; published by The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj (born 1986, Kostërc, former Yugoslavia) has been commissioned to create a site-specific installation for the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. For the artist’s first major project in the United States, Halilaj has transformed The Met Roof with a sprawling sculptural installation. 

Halilaj’s work is deeply connected to the recent history of his native country, Kosovo, and the consequences of cultural and political tensions in the region. After a formative period in Italy, where he studied art at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, he moved to Berlin in 2008, where he still lives and works. His projects encompass a variety of media, including sculpture, drawing, poetry, and performance. — Source

2. Embark on MoMA’s “Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940-1980”

“There is design in everything,” wrote Clara Porset, the innovative Cuban-Mexican designer. She believed that craft and industry could inspire each other, forging an alternative path for modern design. Not all of Porset’s colleagues agreed with her conviction. This exhibition presents these sometimes conflicting visions of modernity proposed by designers of home environments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela between 1940 and 1980. For some, design was an evolution of local and Indigenous craft traditions, leading to an approach that combined centuries-old artisanal techniques with machine-based methods. For others, design responded to market conditions and local tastes, and was based on available technologies and industrial processes. In this exhibition, objects including furniture, appliances, posters, textiles, and ceramics, as well as a selection of photographs and paintings, will explore these tensions. — Source

3. Revel in Mexican Flavors and Traditions Born Anew at Cosme

Cosme restaurant New York Published by Cosme restaurant, New York.

Cosme is Enrique Olvera’s restaurant in New York City’s Flatiron District. Cosme serves contemporary cuisine rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions while celebrating local and seasonal ingredients. Our beverage program mirrors our cuisine, focusing on artisanal spirits, high quality ingredients, and sourcing inspiration from our Mexican culture. Source

4. Visit Dante, a Jubilant New York Landmark of Simple Pleasures

Cafe Dante NYC Published by Dante, New York.

Dante has been a beacon for the community of Greenwich Village since it opened its doors in 1915. Now a registered New York City landmark, this modest meeting house has always attracted people from all walks of life: famous actors, writers, and musicians, to the down-at-heel of the beatnik generation, all of whom have found solace in its relaxed and unpretentious environs. A place where a cup of espresso, a warm smile or a friendly embrace epitomized life’s simple pleasures. Source

5. Get Lost in the Dreamlike Paintings of Anne Rothenstein at Stephen Friedman Gallery 

Anne Rothenstein, Anne Rothenstein, “Waiting,” 2023, Oil on wood panel 152 x 122cm (59 7/8 x 48in)m Framed: 164.6 x 134.6cm (64 3/4 x 53in); courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery.

Stephen Friedman Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Anne Rothenstein, marking the artist’s New York debut. The presentation features Rothenstein’s largest works to date and focuses on her enigmatic approach to portraiture, interior spaces, and landscapes. Source

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